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Album review: Project Pollen, `Project Pollen' (Sideburn SB 005)
Friday, 16 January 1998SHARE PRINTEMAIL
"Trip pop featuring Gene Ween," boasts the sticker, as if Ween's, ooh, it must be dozens of fans will rush out and invest in Project Pollen's eponymous debut. As it happens, they'd be the lucky ones, for this is a gem of an album, well worth searching out for its loose, rolling grooves and delicate tonal colouration.
Project Pollen is the work of two sound engineers, previously known for working with US jazz-rap crews (Steve Greenwell) and US indie guitar bands (Ron Paul). The rhythms are cool trip-hop variants for the most part, over which tiny dabs of vibes, sax and trumpet sparkle engagingly; but mercifully, it's not as straitjacketed by history and style as acid-jazz, forming more enigmatic blends of tone and texture. That's not to say they don't stray that way occasionally - the laidback Latino flute shuffle "Maria" could do with a little more of the maverick spirit of exotica auteurs Martin Denny and Esquivel, perhaps - but even so, there's a pleasing variety of textures to luxuriate amongst. And in Dawn Desimone, they've uncovered a singer whose voice possesses an intriguing air of laconic mystery.